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May be days without power in East Pierce County

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Dec. 15, 2006 at 11:20 am with No Comments »
December 15, 2006 11:20 am

Reporter Rob Tucker hears from Puget Power and the news isn’t good

Puget Sound Energy said today that its customers in Pierce County and elsewhere in Western Washington who are without power may be so for several days or longer.

The Bellevue-based utillity reported 700,000 customers without power in its huge service area. Most of the customers are in King, Pierce and Thurston counties, said spokesman Roger Thompson.

The utility has sustained major damage to its largest transmission lines, and that’s where crews are working now, he said.

The storm is "at least as severe as the Inaugural Day storm in 1993," he said. It’s the third storm that’s caused major power outages in Puget’s service area in a month, he said. But earlier storms were of less force. The worst of the two in mid-November cut off power to 135,000 customers, he said.

Thompson said customers should get flashlights, blankets, and non-perishable foods and try to keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible to preserve perishable items like meat.

He said there is no specific estimate yet on customers without power in Pierce and South King counties as crews continue to assess and repair damages.

Tacoma Public Utilities reported this morning that about 75,000 customers remained without power, many in Tacoma’s North End and in south Pierce County. Crews continue to work to restore service, said spokeswoman Sue Veseth.

Tens of thousands of homes and some city halls are closed on the Bonney Lake Plateau in Pierce County, which is within the Puget service area. On South Hill above the Puyallup Valley, some people and businesses have electricity in the Puyallup city areas, but south of the city limits there is no power as of 10 a.m. Friday.

In the city’s valley section, service remains spotty. The Puyallup Fairgrounds has electricity and scheduled events are occurring.

Don Morrison, Bonney Lake city administrator, said Friday morning that the entire city was without power. City Hall remains open, running on generators. If power isn’t restored in Bonney Lake today, the city will open an emergency shelter this evening, he said.

Several homes have major damage due to trees falling on them, but no injuries have been reported, he said. Main city streets are mostly open after crews worked all night to clear them, but traffic lights don’t work, so there is some congestion on arterials, he said.

City halls in Buckley and Enumclaw are closed. Power is out in both cities.

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